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Best Places to Swim in the Adirondacks

With more than 3,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, the Adirondacks are home to ample swimming spots. Take your pick of pristine lakes with sandy beaches, placid ponds, gently cascading falls, and flowing rivers—get ready for a refreshing experience no matter where you go. Here are some of the best places to swim in the Adirondacks, perfect for your next summer adventure!

Beaches and Lakes

Middle Saranac Lake Beach

Located across from the Ampersand Mountain trailhead on Route 3, the approximately 1.2-mile (round trip) trail to Middle Saranac Lake Beach brings you to a long sandy beach. The part of the lake that’s alongside the beach is shallow with a sandy bottom—perfect for getting in the water for a swim!

The Bluffs

Located on Big Tupper Lake, the Bluffs offer a sense of adventure for daring swimmers. The large rocks on the lake provide a jumping opportunity ranging from less than 15 feet to 30 feet high into approximately 40 feet of water. Remember, please use extreme caution when considering cliff jumping.

Bluff Island

Accessed only by boat, Bluff Island, located on Lower Saranac Lake, features a 60-foot cliff and several large rocks near the water that are great for swimming. If you make it to the top of the cliff, enjoy views of surrounding mountains, but be sure to use caution when hiking near high and steep surfaces. On the lower rocks, bring a picnic or lay in the sun before cooling off in the water.

Chazy Lake Beach

Located at the foot of Lyon, Johnson, and Ellenburg Mountains, Chazy Lake Beach in Dannemora offers spectacular views while you swim. After a swim, lay in the sun on the sandy beach or enjoy lunch at a lakeside picnic table.

little girl sitting on beach with green towel over her head


Chapel Pond

After hiking the surrounding Giant Mountain Wilderness, take a refreshing dip in Chapel Pond. Located along Route 73 in Keene, Chapel Pond is easily accessible. While you’re there, watch for birds like the Peregrine Falcon or hawks, and check out the sandy beach on the east end of the pond.

Moose Pond

Breathtaking mountain views and calm water are just two incredible perks of visiting Moose Pond, located off of Route 3 in Bloomingdale, near Saranac Lake. There are multiple areas to swim, including a beach on the eastern side.

McKenzie Pond

Follow a hiking trail to McKenzie Pond to find incredible mountain views and refreshing water. Located in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area in Saranac Lake, this secret Adirondack swimming hole is ideal for wading, cooling off mid-hike, and playing fetch with your water-loving dog.

little girl jumping into a pond


The Flume

The Flume in Wilmington, located on the Ausable River, is home to rushing water and spectacular scenery. Follow one of the short, easy trails off of Route 86 to see Flume Falls and to go for a swim, as it’s considered to be one of the popular Adirondack swimming holes. Please use extreme caution if you decide to swim here, and do not swim if the river is high.

Mill Creek

To experience an Adirondack swimming hole that’s popular among locals, head to Mill Creek in Wevertown. Known as “the Black Hole,” the swimming hole is downstream from Dunkley Falls, and features nearby rocks you can jump off of into the water. Be sure to use caution when swimming at the Black Hole.

Johns Brook

Located below Bushnell Falls, Johns Brook offers a scenic swimming hole and waterfall all-in-one. The swimming hole is near the Johns Brook Lodge, which can be accessed on an approximately 3.5-mile hike from Keene Valley.

Jay Covered Bridge

Explore the Jay Covered Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge in the Adirondacks. Peek out of the small square windows along the bridge to look down at the East Branch of the Ausable River flowing beneath you. For a refreshing day in the Adirondacks, hop in the water below and near the bridge—you’ll find plenty of places to swim around the large rocks in this Adirondack swimming hole.


Shelving Rock Falls

Shelving Rock Falls is a short, easy round trip hike that features a 50-foot cascading waterfall. Located along the east side of Lake George, the trailhead can be accessed on Shelving Rock Road and by boat from Log Bay. Take a dip in a swimming hole downstream to cool off—watch out for slippery rocks!

Lampson Falls

Accessed at the Degrasse State Forest along Route 38, Lampson Falls is approximately 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide, and is considered the most popular waterfall in St. Lawrence County. In the summer when water flow isn’t as strong as the spring, go for a swim at the bottom of the falls and enjoy a picnic on the small beach—it’s about a 15-minute walk to get to the falls.

Split Rock Falls

Located on the Boquet River, Split Rock Falls features three drops and a large rock that is split, causing water to flow into two different paths. This breathtaking waterfall is off of US 9 in Elizabethtown, and is a short walk from the parking lot. Wade or swim in the large pools of water downstream from the falls.

Bog River Falls

Located at the southern tip of Big Tupper Lake, Bog River Falls can be accessed using a trail on each side of the river. The falls can also be seen from a stone bridge. The 0.2-mile round trip easy trail is perfect for the whole family. Slide down large rocks in the river for water slide fun, and explore the swimming hole that’s upstream from the falls.

Bog River Falls; image credit to Dig The Falls

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